Tips for Children

Bring Your Own Cup

Water that is clean and beautiful is a great place to swim, fish, boat, and have fun. And everyone wants clean water to drink because we need water to live. Understanding how foam cup litter gets into our water is the first step in building a Clean Water Future for our Mobile Bay estuary and its waters. You can help us keep our water clean by learning how trash gets into our water and helping to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Problems


Foam Cups Are Often Found In Our Waters

Foam cups can get blown or washed into our storm drains that empty directly into streams and Mobile Bay.

Photo by Waferboard - CC2.0

Foam Breaks Down Into Small Pieces

Foam breaks down into microplastic particles that are a growing hazard to both humans and marine creatures.

Photo by Phyrexian - CC BY-SA 3.0

Plastics Harm Creatures in and Around the Water

Plastic debris can harm seabirds, fish, dolphins and other marine mammals by entangling them, some creatures may mistake debris for food and eat harmful plastic bits.

Photo by Foerster - cc-by-2.0

Things You Can Do


Get a Cool Cup to Carry with You

Wherever you go, you can fill up your cup instead of getting for a foam cup that will end up in the landfill, or worse, in our waters. Reusable cups come in all shapes and sizes. Find one that you like, then take it everywhere!

Tervis Wavy Wrap Tumbler from Amazon

Always Put Foam Cups in the Trash

If you use a foam cup, make sure it doesn't end up in our streams and bayous by putting it securely in a trash can.

Photo by Vicky Somma - by-nc-sa-2.0

Ask For a Recycling Option

Restaurants across the country are implementing recycling programs for foam cups. Ask your favorite restaurant to start offering this. Chick-Fil-A has foam recycling at many of their restaurants. If your location is not offering it, write to the owner and ask for it!

Ask for a Real Cup

Restaurants often have both cups they clean and disposable cups. Whenever you order, ask for your drink in a washable cup instead of disposable foam or paper cup that could end up in our waters.

Photo by Jon Sullivan

Organize with Friends

A group of 5th graders started a petition on change.org asking Dunkin Donuts to stop serving their coffee in Syrofoam cups. The petition received over 300,000 signatures and as a result the chain has implemented foam recycling programs in many stores and are working on a reusable cup program at all its stores. (OceanConservancy, 2014)

Use Real or Biodegradable Paper Dishes

When you're picnicking with your friends or family, encourage everyone to choose real cups and dishes instead of foam. Foam cups and plates easily float away and then cause problems in the streams and bays for hundreds of years into the future.

Recycle Foam Peanuts

Even if they do not accept other foam products, most recycling centers accept foam packing peanuts. If you receive a package with peanuts, don't throw them out. Place the foam peanuts in a box and take them to the recycling center closest to you.

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Resources

Reuse Styrofoam

Creative Ideas on How to Reuse Styrofoam

Launch Website

How to Reuse Styrofoam (WikiHow)

Finding ways to recycle Styrofoam at home is practical alternative to disposing of it

How to Reuse Styrofoam

App

Earth Day Carol is a retelling of A Christmas Carol. Plastic Bottle Scrooge is visited by the ghosts Plastic Past, Plastic Present, and Plastic Future. Available on Android, iPhone, Amazon, and Nook

Earth Day Carol
Follow Create a Clean Water Future's board Foam Cups on Pinterest.